I Finally Visited a Real Fabric Store

I’ve been sewing for a little while now, and my main source of fabric has been our scrap sewing box and Hobby Lobby. While the fabric box has provided some interesting patterns like that used for Tamaki’s first yukata(please ignore the ugly waist flap, this is before I started sewing them on), her watermelon mini yukata, and a few others that I’ve not posted, I’ve been relying on Hobby Lobby for more fitting kimono prints. And in that respect Hobby Lobby has delivered…sort of. There I found the fabric used for Tamaki’s yellow polka dot kimono, funky red kimono, and a green one which I also made the obi for her watermelon yukata with. Being a hobby store rather than a dedicated fabric store, their fabric section is decent, but far from exquisite. My mom often told me this about Hobby Lobby’s selection, but having never seen anything better, I was already satisfied. As for better stores, I’d been previously recommended Jo-Ann’s, but did not think there was one in the area which left only Hancock Fabrics which is about an hour’s drive away. But this Monday, while accompanying my mom to a doctor’s visit, we found out that there was indeed a Jo-Ann’s near by and decided to go.

Once I set foot in there, I realized that I’d never be satisfied with Hobby Lobby again. The store is huge! I’m not sure what I expected, but being so used to a limited selection, it was a real treat to visit somewhere with so many options. Seeing so many fabrics and embellishments, I felt both excited and overwhelmed by the possibilities, not just for my dolls, but for myself!

During our initial browse, we looked at sewing machines. My sewing machine was another thing I knew was old, but I had no idea just how old. The new machines are digital! They have screens and USB ports! Once again, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was still surprised. In case you’d like to see just how old it is, here’s a picture of what I use:
sewing machine
How advanced.

Although I very much wanted to find something for myself, I was not quite sure what to start, and decided to go home to see what patterns we already have that I could use. But this didn’t stop me from my main agenda: fabric for kimonos! There were many candidates for a lovely kimono(much more than at Hobby Lobby), and I chose to use some rather inexpensive, but delightfully colorful quilting fabric that was located near the entrance. The entire wall was taken up by these fabrics which were arranged by color. This made my task much easier since I like to dress Tamaki according to the season. Although it is August, I stuck with summer colors because the leaves have not begun changing yet. The colors I had in mind were blue, yellow, and green–common on summer days.

fabrics
After much browsing, I ended up taking home blue, green, and an unexpected black that I just couldn’t leave behind. Yellow did not stand a chance once I saw that black fabric!
These are quarter yards, and were only $2 each. Although thin, I find them quite easy to work with.

black
Kimonos are certainly not confined to flowers, they’re often what I find myself looking for when buying fabric. What I liked about this was not only the colors, but the hand painted looking flowers that give it a vintage appearance. These fabrics have a lot of personality.

green
Green is a difficult color since it can have many off-putting variations. My previous green fabric was close to lime, while this one is more of a sage. Accompanying this color is an equally soft pattern which depicts meandering stemmed leaves. It makes me think of a peaceful mountain.

blue
Although simple, this blue fabric was another must have! Not only is blue my favorite color, I love the different shades represented here. The pattern itself is quite common actually(they had it in every color), but that doesn’t matter! And with this rich blue matching Caster’s default outfit, it’s sure to look great on her.

You might have noticed that the blue fabric has already been cut. That’s because I couldn’t resist, and already make a kimono with it!
blue kimono
It came out very wonderfully, and seeing the kimono assembled, I love it even more. In addition to shaving off fabric from the neck, I placed the “waist flap” closer to the bust which makes the kimono fit much better. I’ll have to do this from now on.

Tamaki gave it a try, and loved it! But she’s not here, so someone else will have to model it instead.
paki kimono
I…don’t think this is right.

Of course with all of this talk about kimonos and Tamaki, you might be wondering about Kagura. It is true that I’ve been sewing a lot more for Tamaki, but not that she has a sizeable wardrobe, I’ve begun working on some Barbie sized patterns I bought a while ago. My first attempt at a peasant style top was far from perfect due to some lace that made the shirt rather clown-ish, but I’ll be trying a dress next using some of the new fabric which should work out much better!

That concludes my first trip to a real fabric store! We’ll be going back next Monday, and I plan to pick up some Japanese umbrella fabric that I saw along with reds for Autumn and something for myself.

Do you sew? Then where do you get your fabric from, and how do you choose what to buy?

Up next is a review on figma Racing Miku 2011 ^^

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7 thoughts on “I Finally Visited a Real Fabric Store

  1. I sew as well, not only just for my dollies but also for my cosplay! I only go to JoAnn’s, because they have everything I need and everything is good quality…I think the best way to go about fabric choosing is first, I sketch what I want to make, see which doll would wear it, then what colors go best with her. The thing is when making clothes for dolls, always go for the smaller print fabrics. Also, for Kagura, you don’t really have to buy patterns, simply look at your own clothes, then sketch out the shape of the clothes on printing paper, and sort of make a makeshift dress of paper and fit it to her, then flat out the paper and use it as a pattern. This allows you to make whatever you like rather seeing what patterns there are avaiable. Or just look at the patterns you already have or modify them. Of course, there are still internet shops that sell patterns specially for pure neemos.

    And the blue kimono is lovely! I can’t wait to see it on Tamaki!

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    • I really like the idea of sketching out outfits and then deciding what patterns to use. It’s like what fashion designers do!
      Ah, I had thought of looking at my own clothes. But for the super fancy stuff, I’m hoping to be able to use a DD. I think the bigger body would give more room for details and creativity. Unless you think the smaller body would be easier to start with?
      Ooh! I’ve never seen a site that has Pureneemo patterns for sale! Do you really know of any? ^^

      Thank you! I’m really happy with how it came out–especially the color >///<

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      • I don’t really think it matters the size of the body, it just limits the size and amount of detail. For the smaller dolls it would look better with less detail, so for ultra-fancy, I think working with DD is easiest.
        Well, Pureneemo bodies aren’t as different as the other bodies their size(like the smaller obitsus) so I think the patterns for Pullip and Blythe would fit them just fine with a little altercations. There’s actual a YouTuber that has free patterns to print:http://www.youtube.com/user/yuniedhc/videos
        I never realized they were actually no Pureneemo patterns! I was sure I had seen some somewhere.

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        • Ok! I’ll save up my crazy outfit ideas for the DD then XD

          It’s odd that there aren’t any. Maybe Pureneemos aren’t quite as popular? I really don’t see many places with a large community of owners ^^’

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  2. Oh my!!! I didn’t realize you’d never been to a fabric shop!

    You think JoAnns is amazing… you should try a quilter’s fabric shop 0_0
    I could spend so much money in those places (well, the good ones, anyways).

    Honestly, the age of your machine doesn’t matter, as long as it does a good job. Many quilters I know love Featherweights… which are Singers that were in production starting in 1933 (and I think were only produced until 1961…)!!

    I do sew as well… and I get fabric from JoAnns… and quilt shops (I define quilt shops as the little Mom & Pop fabric stores that are usually just one or two stores local to the area that the owner of the shop lives in… in fact, the front desk is often worked BY the owner of the shop… they often have an amazing selection of fabric, since that’s usually how they stand out from places like JoAnns).

    I will also get fabric from Goodwill. You can sometimes get really interesting, strange prints pretty cheaply. Just give everything a good washing first XD

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    • Haha I thought I had, but boy was I wrong XD

      Ah~ true. I’ve heard of people’s machines giving them trouble, so I’m glad that mine is always consistent. That’s the perk of old machines, they work for a long long time as long as you take care of them!

      That sounds so cool >_< I doubt I could find a quilt shop without actually venturing into the city(I sound like a farmer now XD). Ah the perks of living in the sticks ^^'

      Goodwill is an option though! Come to think of it, before I started sewing, my mom gave away a lot of our fabric to Goodwill thinking we wouldn't be needing it. I try not to think about that.

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